342 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP. in the name of Shah Tahmasp, whose service Nadir after- wards entered. His Dreams.—The ambitions of the Afshar chief were already fully developed, and he dreamed a dream, in which he caught a fish with four horns, indicating the conquest of four kingdoms. He also dreamed that Ali girded him with a sword, calling upon him to save Persia and promis- ing him the throne. The Capture of Meshed and the Execution of Malik Mahmud.—The capture of Meshed was a great service rendered by Nadir to the Safavi dynasty. There was much skirmishing, and he was successful in a battle, but Meshed was not to be won by these means. Treachery aided the fortunate Afshar, who gained an entrance into the heart of the city by the surrender of a gate. Malik Mahmud fought desperately, but was defeated, and when Meshed was taken he gave himself up. At first he was permitted to occupy a dervish's cell in the shrine, but as he became a centre of intrigues he was put to death by Nadir's orders. The Reward for the Expulsion of the Afghans.— Tahmasp had apparently few illusions as to the character of his great general. His expulsion of the Afghans, narrated in detail in the last chapter, was however too signal a service to be rewarded in the ordinary manner, and the Shah perforce bestowed on him Khorasan, Sistan, Kerman, and Mazanderan, together with the title of Sultan. Nadir was too astute to assume the title, but he struck money in his own name and with it paid his army; and in the East this is tantamount to an assumption of sovereignty, Nadir Kuffs First Turkish Campaign.—After the extirpation of the Afghan invaders, Nadir Kuli turned his attention to the Turks. The position, indeed, was serious, as the whole of Azerbaijan and most of Irak was in the possession of the Sultan. In fact it was far worse than the situation which had faced Shah Abbas, who commanded the entire resources of Persia as its lawful monarch, whereas Nadir Kuli was hampered * by Shah Tahmasp. His first campaign was highly successful.